Town of Byron Cemeteries
The four cemeteries in the Town of Byron are Bethel Cemetery, Byron Cemetery, Genesee Cemetery, and St. John’s Cemetery. The cemeteries are well maintained, in part with assistance from the Town of Byron. In addition to providing a community service, each of the cemeteries serves as a permanent chronicle of the people who settled and transformed the community.
Inscription lists for the four cemeteries and lists of veterans laid to rest in the cemeteries are available to researchers at the Byron Historical Society ([email protected]). Prior to Memorial Day each year, U.S. flags are placed at the gravesites of veterans in recognition of their service to our country.
Bethel Cemetery is on the south side of Brookside Road near the intersection of Brookside Road and County Road K. The property is a one-acre parcel in the NE Corner of Section 12.
Bethel Cemetery Association
The Bethel Cemetery Association operates and maintains Bethel cemetery as a non-denominational public cemetery. Lots are available for purchase.
Trustees of the German Evangelical Bethel Society (now known as Bethel Church) purchased the property for $150 from Christian and Augusta Geiger in 1891, the year of the first recorded burial. A tombstone inscription list compiled in 1987 is being updated by the current cemetery caretaker.
Byron Cemetery is on the east side of Highway 175 about .25 miles north of unincorporated Byron village. The property is approximately 1.5 acres in the NE corner of Section 27.
Byron Cemetery Association
The Byron Cemetery Association operates and maintains Byron Cemetery as a non-denominational public cemetery. Lots are available for purchase.
The first purchase of land designated for cemetery use occurred in 1848. This parcel, approximately.5 acres, was sold by George and Sophrania More and Americus Chadwell for $5.00. According to the quit claim deed, the purchasers were “trustees of the burying ground” identified as Abram Shepard, George Parker, and Orin Morris. Although the land was purchased in 1848, the first recorded burial in the cemetery is dated 1846, suggesting that the property had been a burying ground for at least two years prior to the land purchase. The cemetery was known as the “Methodist Cemetery” affiliated with the Methodist Church then located on the NW corner of Highway 175 and County Road F. However, as one of the earliest cemeteries in the area, the site served as a non-denominational final resting place for the community.
When the Methodist Church on the nearby corner closed in the early 1890s, a Byron Cemetery Association was formed on April 4, 1894, to operate and maintain the cemetery. Two additional parcels were purchased from Hugh and Bridget McCready. One, approximately .5 acres, was acquired by the association in 1895 for $35. The other, .5 acres purchased for $120 in 1905, was the last parcel of land purchased by the association.
A tombstone inscription list was compiled in 1987. Extensive cemetery records and burial information are maintained and updated by the association secretary, Maureen Betz. Lots are available for purchase in the northernmost section only.
Genesee Cemetery lies high on a hill along the north side of County Road F in Section 19 between Hickory and Mill Pond Roads.
Town of Byron
The Town of Byron is the custodian of Genesee Cemetery. The cemetery is closed to burials.
Genesee Cemetery, the oldest of the four Town of Byron cemeteries, was established by the Rev. Isaac Vaughan on his farm. The first recorded burial was in 1844 and the last in 1892.
When the Vaughn farm was sold by Daniel and Martha Vaughan in 1877, the deed specified that all the land “except the burying ground” was included in the sale. Thus, the ownership of the cemetery has remained with heirs of the Vaughan family who long ago moved to other locations and the cemetery is closed to burials. Over the years, landowners and caretakers of the adjacent farm watched over the cemetery, but the property eventually fell into neglect until 2004 when the Hungerford Family, residents of the Town of Byron, completed a major restoration project. In addition to removing brush and restoring tombstones, they also updated the cemetery inscription list which had been completed in 1987.
St. John’s Cemetery
St. John’s Catholic Cemetery, in the NE corner of Section 22, is located on the northeast intersection of Highway 175 and Church Road.
Sons of Zebedee Catholic Church
St. John’s Cemetery is operated and maintained by the St. John’s Cemetery Committee, Sons of Zebedee Catholic Church. Contact information regarding lots and burials is included on the Sons of Zebedee website at Sons of Zebedee Catholic Church.
St. John’s Catholic Cemetery is affiliated with the adjacent church, Sons of Zebedee Catholic Church (formerly St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church). According to the original deed, four acres of land for a church and cemetery were purchased for $20 from John and Catherine Lyons by Bishop John Martin Henni. Although the deed was not recorded until 1848, Bishop Henni in 1846 dedicated a portion of the parcel for a much-needed Catholic cemetery. Traveling with Bishop Henni was Rev. Florimond J. Bonduel, a circuit rider priest who reported in his diary that 50 Catholic families were living in “Byron’s Settlement” at the time. A log church was built on the site in 1847.
The first recorded burial at St. John’s Cemetery was in 1846. As one of the few Catholic cemeteries in the area, the site served as the final resting place not only for parishioners from Byron, but for many Catholics from the Fond du Lac area. In 1964, 1.5 acres of land south of St. John’s property was purchased for cemetery purposes from Charles and Antoinette Bleuel for $1500. Lots are available for purchase in this section.
Many of the church’s sacramental records, including burial records, were burned in a 1935 fire that completely destroyed the church rectory. However, two tombstone inscription lists have been compiled into a database on the Sons of Zebedee website (www.sonsofz.org). The site provides tombstone photographs and inscription information.